Inverallochy inspires Shire

George Ritchie with Councillor Brian Topping at the Inspiring Aberdeenshire awards
George Ritchie with Councillor Brian Topping at the Inspiring Aberdeenshire awards

Inverallochy has inspired Aberdeenshire after one village resident and one school were given awards recognising the community work they do.

George Ritchie, who teaches flute at Inverallochy school, and Inverallochy School were both prize-winners at last Friday’s Inspiring Aberdeenshire awards.

Inverallochy School Head Teacher Fiona Edwards recieving The Doric Award

Inverallochy School Head Teacher Fiona Edwards recieving The Doric Award

Mr Ritchie was awarded the Best of Banff and Buchan award while Inverallochy School took home The Doric Award.

Fiona Edwards, Head Teacher at Inverallochy School, said: “We were very surprised, excited and extremely grateful to have been nominated for this award, particularly as it was something that had been done without the school’s knowledge.

“ It is always a great feeling to be recognised for something by others in the school community.”

Inverallochy School organises ‘Tak a Beat’ Doric Festival fortnight every year to celebrate Doric.

Inverallochy School pupils celebrate award

Inverallochy School pupils celebrate award

In 2016 pupils researched long-lost phrases, speaking to members of their community and wrote Doric limericks.

Ms Edwards said: “We love Doric at Inverallochy School and for the last 9 years the school has held ‘Tak a Beat’ a two week festival within the school which focuses on our local culture, heritage and tradition.

“It was started by the previous Head Teacher Miss Eunice Stephen which has become something the whole school looks forward to.”

Ms Edwards said that Tak a Beat would not be possible without the “huge support” in the village and surrounding community.

She said: “This award is not only for the school but for the community of Cairnbulg and Inverallochy as a whole.”

George Ritchie, winner of the Best of Banff and Buchan award, teaches flute to 48 children at the school.

He was recognised for his work in encouraging participation in local heritage events including the annual Temperance Walks at Christmas and on New Year’s Day.

Ms Edwards said: “George comes in three times a week and he does it on his own time and he is just volunteering.

“He doesn’t get paid for it, he just does it from his heart.”

The winners at the Inspiring Aberdeenshire awards ceremony organised by Aberdeenshire Council were selected from over 160 nominations.

Provost of Aberdeenshire Hamish Vernal, who hosted the awards, said: “The theme for the awards is butterflies and the winners tonight are really flying high in recognition of the support they have given their communities, family and friends.”